Geoff Dyer - the "Midlands" paintings

January 21, 2013

Stretching from Launceston to Hobart, the Tasmanian Midlands is a vast landlocked region of relatively low plains drained by tributaries of the Tamar River in the north and Jordan River in the south. The Midlands is divided into two areas - Northern and Southern, both a little different in character. The Northern Midlands sweeping landscape consists of grasslands grazed by cattle and sheep and the rich agricultural river flats of the Esk, Lake and Macquarie Rivers. The Southern part of the Midlands is characterised by broad valleys divided by timber ranges of hills. Here too there is extensive dry grazing and cropping land.

It is here that Geoff Dyer finds great inspiration. Driving up from his home in Hobart Geoff spends time in the broad open plains, taking in the mood-laden weather patterns that skirt the landscape and can be seen for miles in every direction. The Midlands has the driest climate in Tasmania yet when storms and clouds do build and sweep across this massive expanse they are visions of beauty and drama.

In Geoff s Midlands series he has purposefully kept the horizon line low in his compositions to give space to these dramatic skies. Storms build and shift across the horizon; squalls sweep the far plains; the sky's landscape offers up a monochromatic spectrum, interspersed with blues that are looking to burst through. There is essence of Turner in these works; the brush work that brings to life the tempest-like atmosphere is reminiscent of the great English painter, a noted influence on Dyer as a young artist.

Dyer captures these scenes with the authority of the master landscape artist that he is. The majesty and potency of the brooding scenes are brought to life in the knowing strokes of paint that cover the canvas.

It is no wonder that his work is so highly collectable and so sought after. His is a rare talent that captures the equally rare beauty of his much-loved homeland.